Except I am addressing your argument, which I quoted specifically for that purpose. I'll break it down for you.
You say this:
The message I'm getting: It's okay to let people stop working to chase their dreams, whatever they are. It's okay to let people "not worry about money" and let someone else do the work for them so they can do what they want, even if doing what they want entails no work and no economic contributions.
That's where society is moving, yep.
I refute you with -- why do I have to work so someone else can pursue their non-contributive dream? If we encourage artists, for example, to sit at home and paint all day because that's all they want to do, why do I have to foot the bill if they're not giving anything back? Who is going to clean toilets if they have the option to do something else and do it on someone else's dime?
I think I've made it clear that people should still need to work for housing. But I don't see any particular reason why making sure that everyone has access to food, clothing, health and communication no matter what disaster may strike them is a bad thing.
Because here is the thing - all of this stuff is available to you if you refuse to work
I was denied health care because I made more than $10k per year. And everything else would be, too. Everything on Ruby's list, though the housing was subsidized. Didn't matter that all of my income went to legitimate business expenses. Those deductions don't count - just my raw, unadjusted income.
So, since you can stop working, and after about a year you'll be eligible for these things, why don't you? All you'll need is $5/month to pay for your share of the subsidized housing.
The price, of course, is you'll have to live next to the sort of people who made that decision, too, or through one circumstance or another are forced into it (that happens). This option is available - but you actually have to commit to being useless to society. You claim you would - but why aren't you?
In the mean time, the rest of the benefits on Ruby's list don't carry that sort of social price to implement. Most of your standard of living is bound up in where you live, after all.
This is perfectly relevant to what you just said and if it's not, do explain how it's not instead of dismissing me based on things I'm not even talking about.
Pointless in terms of your tax code. We would have to jack up taxes yet again to pay for the implementation of automation in as many places as possible, as well as maintenance and research. Who's going to cover that? How many things are we going to automate? In which industries? Which workers are we going to displace? How far and how much are we going to automate? And so forth.
What does public investment have to do with the progress of automation?
What do you think a jobless recovery means, and how do you think that happens? Magic? We employ fewer people, pay them less, have them work fewer hours, but they are producing more.
Hint: It's not magic. And a sixth of the population is feeling the effects of that not being magic, even though we are actually producing the resources to support them just fine. I am not claiming that the best
solution is to provide their needs for free, but trying to pretend that part of the issue is not the progress of more and more advanced automation is just sticking your head in the sand.
In the end, no, there won't be any need for non-creative labor. Will it happen during our lifetime? Maybe. I'm not sure. It's worth discussing, however, because it has immense social ramifications, and all signs point to this occurring incredibly fast in the scale of human history.
Why should you clean toilets instead of the robot? I have no idea, maybe you're into that sort of thing.
I feel like you're reading a different post than I wrote, because I have not explicitly mentioned free housing anywhere. You, yourself brought up that giving everyone things like a cell phone and internet access should be some kind of universal right and I am rebutting that point by saying that I am not paying for someone's leisure activities if they're not contributing anything back. Please actually address the things I say instead of dismissing them in a sentence that puts words where they don't exist.
Alright, so why don't you?
Have you actually applied to these programs and see why you get turned down?
You have to be working part time, minimum wage, in order to get many of these benefits. Full time minimum wage? Sorry, you're obviously not struggling as much - you've got $15k per year, what could you possibly need!? Go pop out some babies or something and come back to us.
And if you're childless and self employed you can get lost.
Vekseid, your position differs from what Ruby staked out in a big way (or perhaps that is just my understanding of it). What I got from Ruby's position is that she believes that all of those things should be rights -- something that cannot be taken away except in very extreme circumstances (in the way prisoners can be denied certain rights for example) -- guaranteed by our laws.
I think food, communication, health care and education should be rights.
You don't necessarily have the right to hours of communication per day, much less unlimited communication, but you should be able to contact loved ones, potential employers, emergency services, and so on. You don't necessarily have the right to unlimited Internet access, but you should at least have access to a shared, secured, publicly visible computer where you can check e-mail, the news, and so on.
You don't necessarily have the right to eat out, or order pizza, but you should not starve and should be able to eat healthily even in the event of some personal catastrophe. Putting everyone on what amounts to food stamps doesn't really have much of a negative economic 'cost' to it, it just means that you don't have to jump through hoops in order to get what you need in the event of disaster. It can also be used (absent political gaming which no doubt would happen without other precautions - but we're assuming those are in place for sake of argument) - to help drive public health.
You don't necessarily have the right to cosmetic surgery, but we're paying a heavy price for the lack of preventative care - that should be a right, just as much as emergency care is a right now.
You don't necessarily have the right to pursue an art degree on the public dime, but evidence seems to show that two years of college / trade school are the most productive, so providing 15 years of education rather than 13 seems like a good idea.
You don't necessarily have the right to designer clothing, but you shouldn't have to risk freezing to death or appear unsuitable for work.
You don't necessarily have the right to live in a dream home, but if your employer requires a mailing address, you should be able to have one. If they can require you show up clean, you should have access to a shower.
...by all means, make it as spartan as you want. Make sure people don't like living that way. But we need to make sure people are facing a minimum number of unfunded mandates in their personal lives.
Now, these rights should not be constitutionally mandated. I don't believe a state's constitution should place a burden on said state - because it's purpose is to set guidelines and limitations, not set mandates. I rather dislike the 4th amendment in principle for this reason, though I would be fine with the amendment being changed to ensure that the law is accessible, or that prosecution must pay a stipend for defense.
I'm not against offering these things as a bridge to helping people become productive members of our society. If we make it contingent upon participation in a works progress administration for example, I have no problem with just about anything that was mentioned. There are very few people in this country that cannot work at all, and if we required them to do sensible tasks in order to "earn" it (even if those tasks are "easier" than what a normal person is required to do) then I see this as fair. For example, someone who is bedridden can still answer phones in a reasonably stressless way in order to take simple messages. Giving them a reasonable standard of living in exchange for that is totally OK with me. And I'm sure there are people who are completely unable to work at all, ever... And I'm okay with supporting them too.
Well yes. I'm not defending Ruby's proposal as ideal. Or saying that the ideal situation is a 20% flat tax to provide these things even with said program. Just that the math is there and the goods are there, and it is not physically impossible to do.
I do think the government should have a general works progress agency that never quits, but whose sole purpose is to basically provide 'full employment'. It will gain employees during recessions and lose them as the private sector picks up again. It would ensure that skills stay fresh, that people don't face liquidity crisises, etc. But that's a different topic.
What I don't agree with is unconditionally providing these things for the entire country on the basis of a right, much like you have a "right" to not be arrested for exercising your right to free speech (excepting the very few prohibited areas)
Cell phones are a bit of a gray area -- land lines would do fine.
Cell phones are cheaper. It helps that the entire project could be funded by a properly sized price-fixing lawsuit. Plus you can give everyone one and use the built-in system to restrict time, while giving shared landlines has logistical pains.
I don't think we need to give people their own homes unless they do have a family (one large enough to justify it) and even then it should be a very tentative, impermanent arrangement.
No, even then it's a bad idea.
If you don't own something, you don't feel as responsible for it. Addressing and encouraging home ownership is going to require something above and beyond the scope of Ruby's proposal here.
People do need an address they can be mailed at, though.
The internet I flat out disagree on; you only need access to it, not to have it in your home in order to look for a job (which your local library has).
That's basically what I meant. To get real access you'd need to pay, but it would either be communal or bandwidth-limited.
But the rest? I can't object to helping people get back on their feet. But making it a right means you can do nothing and get by and no one can stop you. That, to me, is a disastrous idea.
Keep in mind that, in this thread, I'm speaking partially from personal experience.
I was turned down for government health care because I 'made' too much, which, at the time, the limit was about $8k or $9k per year. To which my business expenses didn't apply - I certainly had more than that in revenue, but I had advertising agreements, my vehicle, etc. that all needed payment, and weren't getting it.
On a lark I looked up other benefit systems and found pretty much the same story - the income limit is set so ridiculously low for so many programs, that it's the people who work the hardest who get treated the worst. If you're self employed your problems are even worse, because none of your expenses count (though, thankfully, the IRS will bend over backwards for you).